Rank #1: 17 June 2019 – GE Ventures to Sell its Portfolio
A fascinating feature for you courtesy of Tony Askew, co-founder and partner of REV Venture Partners, who spoke with Global Corporate Venturing about how the media industry has evolved since the corporate venturing unit was launched in 2000. Insights provided by Askew included how its co-investments with In-Q-Tel have helped the unit, while he also explained the group’s aim was to stay three to seven years ahead of everyone else.
WTW to broker corporate venturing deals
Third Rock counts $770m for fifth fund
Invengo invigorates $145m IoT fund
Crane crowns $90m close for first fund
Wavemaker drifts to $60m close for third fund
Salesforce processes $15.7bn Tableau acquisition
CrowdStrike is going public today after pricing a $612m IPO that represents a huge jump up from less than two weeks ago, when it was slated to float in an offering that would have raised $378m at its mid-point.
Merck & Co has agreed to acquire Tilos Therapeutics, which is developing antibodies to treat cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases, in a deal that could potentially reach $773m once milestone payments are factored in.
That isn’t the only heavy-duty M&A exit to be agreed in the last day or so. H&R Block isbuying accounting software producer Wave Financial for $405m in cash.
Avi networks its way to VMWare acquisition
Barefoot takes next step with Intel purchase
Cvent goes DoubleDutch in acquisition deal
Short-term accommodation booking platform Oyo has reportedly begun talks with new and existing investors over a $1bn round that would value it at $10bn.
SoftBank’s recently launched $5bn Innovation Fund that focuses on Latin America has entered discussions with Brazil-based digital bank Nubank to lead a funding round that could reach up to $1bn and value the company at $8bn to $10bn – up from a previous reported valuation of $4bn, achieved when the fintech developer collected $180m from Tencent in October 2018.
SoftBank works out $300m Gympass investment
ADC Therapeutics adjusts series E to $276m
South Korea-based Yanolja also operates a short-term hotel business, refitting venues such as love hotels for a millennial user base seeking good quality accommodation on a budget. It has raised $180m in a series D round at a valuation of more than $1bn, with travel booking platform Booking Holdings joining Singapore’s GIC to supply the cash.
Innoviz has boosted a series C round that includes Harel Insurance and Phoenix Insurance from $132m to $170m, the extra funding coming from undisclosed investors.
Symphony plays on with $165m
Shuidi ships in $145m
Thumbtack, the US-based local services listing platform, has collected $120m in series H funding from unnamed investors – reportedly at a flat valuation of $1.3bn.
ShareChat in talks for $100m funding round
Dishangtie parks $100m in series B round
Vectra collects $100m in series E round
Infarm harvests $100m series B round
Jun 17 2019
Rank #2: 14 January 2019 – CloudEndure Acquired by Amazon
The big ones
Reports in late 2018 suggested SoftBank Vision Fund was planning to invest between $15bn and $20bn in order to take a majority stake in portfolio company WeWork, but sources have told the FT that after the fund’s LPs balked at the idea (though a separate report said Masayoshi Son decided to pull out during the economic turmoil on the stock markets ahead of the Christmas period), SoftBank itself is set to provide $2bn of funding for the company.
Amazon has paid a reported $200m to acquire CloudEndure, a cloud migration and disaster recovery software producer that had disclosed a little over $18m in venture funding.
Healthcare system Providence St Joseph Health launched Providence Ventures in 2014 with $150m and a brief to make strategic investments of up to $5m in health technology developers.
On GUV, Ribon Therapeutics, a US-based biotechnology company developing enzyme families activated under cellular stress conditions, has come out of stealth with $65m in series B capital provided by a consortium led by Novartis Venture Fund, the corporate venturing division of pharmaceutical firm Novartis.
One of several China-based smart electric car developers to raise substantial funding last year, Byton is reportedly now lining up an additional $500m or so in a round set to value it at $4bn.
Mobile banking service N26 has secured $300m at a $2.7bn valuation, in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners.
Just three weeks ago in our 2018 round up we were talking about the rapid growth of e-scooter rental platforms, and now news has emerged that Bird – one of the two key players in the sector – is lining up $300m in funding at a $2bn valuation.
Financial leasing service Tokyo Century has been an investor in strategic partner Grab since 2016, and has expanded its overall commitment to the ride hailing platform to $175m, consisting of both equity funding and financing for its Grab Rentals subsidiary.
ClearMotion, a developer of object-sensing systems for use in autonomous vehicles that was spun out of MIT, emerged from stealth almost two years ago having just raised $100m in series C funding from investors including Qualcomm.
Boom Supersonic is working on an aircraft that will be able to reach supersonic speeds while producing the same carbon footprint as business class travel. Its earlier investors include Japan Airlines and Ctrip, and it’s raised $100m in a series B round led by Emerson Collective.
Energy utility CLP has co-led a $100m series C round for digital health management platform Kang Sheng Health Management with China International Capital Corporation.
Instalment buying platform and credit provider Akulaku is in advanced talks to raise $100m in a series D round set to be led by Ant Financial, e-commerce firm Alibaba’s financial services affiliate.
Indian ride hailing service Ola has received $74m in funding from Steadview Capital at a reported valuation of $5.7bn, adding to an ongoing round it aims to close at $1bn.
Appliance producer Midea has raised $104m for an investment fund with a targeted close of up to $293m that will target developers of intelligent home products, smart manufacturing, retail and new energy technology.
Neurological disorder drug developer Alector has filed to raise up to $150m in an initial public offering that will enable investors including corporate venturing units MRL Ventures (which owns a 6% stake), GV, AbbVie Ventures, Lilly Asia Ventures and Amgen Ventures to exit. All five contributed to Alector’s last funding round, a $133m series E closed six months ago.
Jan 14 2019
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Rank #3: 10 June 2019 – Google Agrees $2.6bn Acquisition of Looker
The Big Ones
JD.com has agreed to lead a round for electronics recycler Aihuishou that will be more than $500m in size. The deal will also involve JD.com, an investor in the company since at least 2015, merging its second-hand e-commerce subsidiary, Paipai, with Aihuishou.
Google has agreed to purchase data analytics software provider Looker in a $2.6bn acquisition that will surely be one of the year’s largest.
SoftBank Vision Fund is still seeking out new forms of financing, and is reportedly in talks with banks such as Goldman Sachs over a $4bn debt financing package that will effectively use its stakes in Uber, Guardant Health and the soon-to-list Slack as its basis.
Healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management added a partnership with Columbia University to its roster of academic biomedical alliances yesterday with the launch of an up to $130m investment vehicle, Hudson Heights Innovations.
Swiggy is battling Zomato for dominance in India’s online food delivery sector, and may be about to recruit a powerful ally in SoftBank.
Bordrin Motor is the latest Chinese smart electric vehicle developer to pull in big funding, securing $362m in a round led by a Sinochem vehicle called Silver Saddle Equity Investment Management.
Speaking of SoftBank, the telecommunications and internet group has also invested $200m in online consumer loan provider Creditas.
Hupu is still preparing to float in its home country of China, but before that, digital media company Bytedance has invested $182m in the sport-focused online media provider in return for a 30% stake.
Foursquare seems to have been around forever and has had some hiccups, but it’s raising more money than ever. Merchant bank Raine Group has invested $150m in the location-based app developer, whose existing backers include Naver and corporate venturing units OATV and Simon Ventures, and is using some of it to acquire location data-tracking software provider Placed from Snap, which bought the company for $135m two years ago.
SoftBank Vision Fund invested $100m in Brazilian logistics platform Loggi towards the end of last year and has now returned to lead another $100m round.
Endpoint security software provider SentinelOne has secured $120m in a series D round that included Samsung Venture Investment to boost its total funding to $230m.
Yellowbrick Data has raised $81m in series C funding from investors including BMW i Ventures, Siemens’ Next47 unit and Alphabet subsidiary GV to boost its overall funding to $173m.
Global Fashion Group, a consortium made up of investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries and Tengelmann Ventures that oversees four fashion e-commerce marketplaces is looking to go public as early as next month.
Japanese digital business card platform Sansan has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and is set to raise about $360m, including the over-allotment option, when it floats in Tokyo.
Adaptive Biotechnologies has filed to raise up to $230m in an initial public offering, following the inking of a collaboration deal with Genetech in December that could potentially be worth $2bn.
Another unicorn, fitness subscription service Peloton, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Its investors include Comcast NBCUniversal and Grace Beauty, and it was valued at more than $4.1bn when it last raised money, in August.
Jun 10 2019
Rank #4: 25 February 2019 – LPs Express Concern in SoftBank Vision Fund
Reports earlier in the week claimed some of the LPs in SoftBank Vision Fund have concerns about its centralised decision making and the high prices it has paid in its investments, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down. Vision Fund has led a $1bn round for shipping marketplace Flexport at a $3.2bn valuation, investing alongside backers including SF Express, the round taking its total funding to more than $1.3bn.
Allianz’s digital investment arm, Allianz X, has made roughly 15 investments but that portfolio, which includes unicorns Go-Jek and N26, has been enough to help convince it to boost the unit’s capital reserves from €430m to €1bn (which equates to more than $1.1bn). Other factors would be the way in which Allianz X informs its parent’s ongoing move toward a digital business model, and the side deals and joint ventures it has sealed with portfolio companies.
On the IPO front, Pinterest has reportedly filed confidentially for an initial public offering it expects will take place at a valuation in excess of $12bn. The Rakuten-backed social media platform has beefed up revenue significantly in recent years, boosting advertising while also ramping up its commerce options. It will form part of a coterie of decacorns (that’s a valuation of $10bn+) set to float in 2019.
Reports the week before last stating that Amazon and GM were set to invest in electric truck developer Rivian Automotive at a 10-figure valuation, and those reports have turned out to be half right. Amazon has led a $700m round for Rivian that also featured existing backers likely to include corporates Abdul Latif Jameel and Sumitomo, but GM is yet to make its move, though the carmaker reportedly remains in talks over either an investment or a collaboration agreement.
Vision Fund has also invested in last-mile consumer goods delivery service DoorDash, as part of a $400m series F round that valued it at $7.1bn.
On-demand logistics service provider Lalamove has meanwhile secured $300m in a series D round that valued it at more than $1bn.
In another part of the logistics sector, SoftBank Vision Fund has led a $200m series D round for on-demand personal storage service Clutter at a $600m valuation and is taking a board set in the process.
Online property transaction platform OpenDoor is seeking its own nine-figure round, and is reportedly after $200m that will be raised at a $3.7bn valuation.
Arvelle Therapeutics initially revealed it had spun off from Axovant with more than $100m in funding, but the lead investor in the series A round, LSP, has revealed it was $180m in size.
Retailer Clas Ohlson paid $26m for a 10% stake in Sweden-based online grocer MatHem in 2017 and may have already scored an exit. Investment firm Kinnevik has invested $42.5m in the company while also acquiring $53.5m of shares from existing shareholders through a secondary deal.
Abu Dhabi’s investment vehicle, Mubadala, provided $15bn for SoftBank’s Vision Fund in 2017 and now it looks like the corporate has exchanged the favour, so to speak.
It’s not quite a fund, but universities in Maryland have supported a potential $16m state government program intended to spur local innovation in the cybersecurity and the life sciences sectors.
Another one that isn’t quite a fund but worth mentioning: Mars Innovation, the commercialisation firm focused on the Toronto cluster, has hired three lobbyists with StrategyCorp to lobby the federal government about “tens of millions of funding”.
Ucommune has emerged as WeWork’s key competitor, particularly in Asia, and has reportedly hired banks to prepare an initial public offering slated to take place in New York that is expected to value it at about $3bn.
Slack launched its Slack Fund in 2015 and it looks like it’s set to potentially make its first exit, after Palo Alto Networks agreed to acquire cybersecurity orchestration platform developer Demisto for $560m in a cash-and-stock deal that will also enable fellow CVC Wipro Ventures to exit.
SoYoung investors are set for a different kind of exit, after the Chinese cosmetic surgery booking and reviews platform filed confidentially to raise up to $300m in an initial public offering in the US.
Feb 25 2019
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Rank #5: 28 January 2019 – Stanford StartX Fund Comes to an End
The big 3
For all the talk about the big numbers of 2018 – Global Corporate Venturing tracked 2,775 deals worth an estimated total of $180bn, the details of which you can find in the January issue out and the World of Corporate Venturing annual review published at the GCVI Summit at the end of the month – the headline increase in CVC units masks continued evolution in units and structures.
GE Ventures has become one of the most prominent figures in the corporate venture capital space since being formed in 2013, but its parent company is reportedly looking to divest the unit as part of a large-scale restructuring effort that has already claimed its transportation subsidiary and could shortly include GE Healthcare.
Big deal: Stanford-StartX Fund reaches the end
Insurance group Axa formed its corporate venturing unit, then known as Axa Strategic Partners, in 2015 and it has now boosted its early-stage investing by putting $150m into a second early-stage fund that will provide up to $6m per deal.
And startups founded by women or minorities are still having a tough time getting capital. Enterprise software producer SAP is the latest corporate to try and change that, unveiling its No Boundaries initiative that will invest 40% of the existing SAP.io Fund in startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Other big news sees a sweep of large deals continuing. Go-Jek is one on the up. The ride hailing platform, Grab’s main rival in Southeast Asia, has raised $920m from existing investors that include Google, JD.com and Tencent for the first close of a round with a $2bn target.
Still, getting financial and hopefully strategic benefits remains the game. Reports earlier this week suggested Viacom was set to acquire online television streaming platform Pluto TV for up to $500m. The final price has proven to be a more realistic $340m, but it will still give a healthy exit to a round of investors including Sky, ProSiebenSat.1, UTA, Universal Music Group, Samsung Scripps and Windsor Media.
Menlo Ventures hires Qualcomm’s Haghighi
Genetic disease drug developer BridgeBio has received $299m in funding from investors including AIG that will be used to move a 15-strong pipeline of assets forward.
Desktop Metal has confirmed recent reports that it was raising new funding by confirming it has closed a $160m round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the then undisclosed large industrial company featured in those reports.
FirstCry was reported last week to be in the process of securing $400m from SoftBank, but now the company has revealed the round will be raised over two tranches – with a first $150m investment closed – and that the cash is actually coming from the Vision Fund rather than the corporate directly.
LinkedIn-backed data streaming platform developer Confluent has secured $125m in a series D round that valued it at $2.5bn. The round increased Confluent’s total funding to $206m and was led by Seqouia Capital, the venture firm that also led its series C two years ago.
AutoAI was unveiled by mapping technology provider Navinfo late last year to further develop smart in-car technology created by the firm’s subsidiaries.
Andela recruits GV for $100m series D
SoftBank Vision Fund has made a $100m investment in Globality, the operator of a platform where businesses can source service providers, that valued the company at nearly $1bn, a source told the WSJ.
Sunmi shines with Ant Financial investment
Minervax finds verve with $5m
Nexiot checks in series B funding
CIC makes cut in Imagen series B
Beleaguered Blippar finds a buyer
Avedro heads to public markets
Jan 28 2019
Rank #6: 11 February 2019 – Tencent and the Gaming Industry
General Electric’s corporate venturing unit is launching a content portal called Flux to help companies overcome barriers to diversity and inclusiveness.
In game-industry deal-making, there’s Tencent, then there’s everyone else. As a sign of both financial muscle and the need to expand beyond core markets given the effective closing of the Chinese market to new games in 2018, Tencent was either a major shareholder in or investor in four of the top five deals last year that saw record $5.7bn invested in startups, according to Digi-Capital’s Q1 report by Tim Merrell.
SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son has said he wants the corporate to eventually raise several iterations of its Vision Fund, and it may have to, considering the vehicle, which is yet to reach its initial $100bn target, has reportedly passed the halfway point in terms of capital allocated.
Chinese automotive e-commerce platform Guazi could well be the next investment target for SoftBank Vision Fund, which is reportedly in talks to invest up to $1.5bn at an $8.5bn pre-money valuation.
Autonomous driving technology developer Aurora Interactive was formed by alumni of Google, Uber and Tesla’s driverless software units, and has made a big move by raising $530m from investors including Amazon.
OakNorth, a digital bank that caters to both consumers and business customers, has meanwhile become SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest portfolio company.
Electric scooter and e-bike rental service Lime has completed a $310m series D round co-led by GV, whose parent company Alphabet also participated.
Microsoft has invested in Databricks as part of a $250m series E round that valued the big data analytics technology producer at $2.75bn, more than two years after forming a partnership to create a version of its software specifically for Microsoft’s Azure platform.
Zomato has meanwhile received $39.7m from Glade Brook Capital and added it to the $210m invested by Ant Financial in October for a funding round that now stands at about $250m, and which reports last month suggested could potentially reach $1bn.
Raisin puts $114m in its account
Emerging Markets Property Group, the online real estate listings operator whose key brand is Bayut, has raised $100m in series D funding from investors including Exor Seeds, the $100m fund formed by reinsurance company PartnerRe and its parent, Exor.
Healthcare data software provider Health Catalyst on the other hand is valued at about $1bn following a $100m series F round backed by corporate venturing vehicles UPMC Enterprises and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.
Foot Locker kicks $100m into Goat Group
Corporates help scale Himalaya with $100m
Spin Memory banks Abies for series B
Blue Water seeks $15m injection
Sojitz sorts out $33m joint venture fund
Partech packs $143m into African fund
Berkeley encrypts Blockchain Xcelerator
Palo Alto Networks picks Demisto for acquisition
Alector is developing immuno-neurology drugs that will target the immune system in order to fight neurodegenerative disorders, and it raised $176m when it floated today after pricing its IPO in the middle of its range.
Marinomed hits Vienna Stock Exchange
Long touted as one of the world’s most valuable VC-backed startups, Palantir reached a $20bn valuation in 2015 and reports from 2018 suggested it would seek a valuation roughly double that in a flotation expected to take place this year.
After months of speculation Slack has finally filed, albeit confidentially, to go public. The enterprise messaging platform plans to opt for a direct listing, as Spotify did last year, meaning existing investors including GV, Comcast Ventures and SoftBank Vision Fund will get the chance to divest shares despite Slack not looking to raise additional capital through a flotation. Slack was valued at just over $7.1bn as of its last funding round, in August.
TCR² Therapeutics has set the terms for an initial public offering that will net it $80m if it floats at the top of its range.
Feb 11 2019
Rank #7: 07 January 2019 – Bristol-Myers Squibb Agrees Celgene Acquisition
Three biggest stories
In this week’s biggest deal, pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to acquire peer Celgene in a buyout made up of cash and shares that will create a $74bn business.
Singapore-based on-demand ride service Grab has increased the potential size of a series H round already backed by several corporate investors to $5bn.
Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific has acquired the rest of the shares in one of its portfolio companies, US-based mitral regurgitation system developer Millipede Medical, for $325m.
Verily was spun off from Alphabet’s Google X division in 2015 to apply data science technology to healthcare data in order to create innovative life sciences and care management products.
Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has co-led a funding round sized at almost $582m for Hello TransTech, the China-based operator of bicycle rental service Hellobike.
Woowa Brothers, a South Korea-based food delivery app owner backed by internet company CyberAgent and financial services firm Goldman Sachs, has raised $320m at a $2.6bn valuation.
Internet group Tencent has led a $300m round for China-based online education platform developer Yuanfudao.
US-based oncology drug developer Rakuten Aspyrian has completed a $284m series C round featuring e-commerce firm Rakuten and financial services provider SBI Group.
AR game developer Niantic, has secured $190m in funding in a round that could have included Samsung and Axiomatic.
The year’s first big crypto round has been raised by Bakkt, a cryptocurrency trading platform that secured approximately $183m in its first funding round.
Cancer therapy developer Antengene has completed a $120m series B round featuring insurer Taikang and pharmaceutical companies Celgene and WuXi AppTec.
On GUV, Annexon Biosciences, a US-based immunotherapy developer spun out of Stanford University, closed a $75m series C round backed by Novartis Venture Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for pharmaceutical firm Novartis.
One of the IPOs set to take place in early 2019 will likely involve Futu, the China-based digital brokerage operator that has filed to raise up to $300m in a US offering.
E-commerce group Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform and online listings platform 58.com have co-anchored a $200m first close for a fund launched by China-based venture capital firm ATM Capital.
Oil and gas supplier Saudi Aramco and IT services provider Saudi Information Technology Company have teamed up to form a corporate venturing vehicle that will back emerging information and communication technologies.
Egypt-based financial services firm Commercial Investment Bank (CIB) has launched a corporate venturing unit called CVentures to help drive emerging technologies in the fintech sector.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is to put $1m into a university venture fund called Cactus Capital to back emerging projects led by university students, recent graduates and other academic entrepreneurs.
Jan 07 2019
Rank #8: 21 January 2019 – SenseTime Prepares for $2bn Round
The big ones
Image recognition software provider SenseTime raised a total of $1.7bn in the year running up to May 2018, and news has emerged that it’s preparing a new round with a target of $2bn.
Slack has been mooted as one of 2019’s likeliest IPO candidates for months now, but it’s reportedly looking to emulate Spotify and choose a direct listing rather than issuing new shares.
On GUV, news of note was that Purdue University has now launched a total of 223 university-linked businesses since 2013, more than half which were based on intellectual property (IP) licensed through Purdue Research Foundation’s office of technology commercialisation (OTC).
End-to-end construction and renovation services platform Katerra last raised money in an $865m series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund a year ago.
SoftBank is reportedly in talks to pay $400m for a 42% stake in baby and child product retailer FirstCry, representing a signficant jump in valuation from the $350m figure reported for the company’s last round.
Around a week after news that its biggest rival, Bird, was lining up $300m in funding, reports suggest scooter and bicycle rental platform Lime is set to raise about $400m in a round that will value it at $2bn pre-money.
English language tutoring platform Dada has concluded its latest round, securing $255m in series D funding from investors including TAL Education.
Logistics service provider Yimi Dida has meanwhile raised $266m in series D funding from investors including Prologis.
Niantic has confirmed it has raised $245m in a series C round featuring Samsung Ventures and Axiomatic at a post-money valuation near to $4bn.
Funds advised by Apax Partners have agreed to invest $200m in big data software and services provider Fractal Analytics through a transaction expected to close next month.
Beta Bionics has attracted $13m from investors including medical device producers Zealand Pharma and Dexom to close its series B round at $63m.
Outdoorsy, the operator of a rental platform for recreational vehicles, has closed a $50m series C round that involved the return of Aviva Ventures, the corporate venturing unit that also backed its series B early last year.
Online film ticketing platform Maoyan has set the terms for its initial public offering in Hong Kong and will raise approximately $344m if it floats at the top of its range.
Educational services provider Byju’s has acquired connected toy producer Osmo in a $120m all-share transaction that will add a range of coprorates to the former’s investor base.
Cirius Therapeutics, a developer of therapies for liver and metabolic diseases, has filed for an $86.3m IPO that will provide an exit for Novo, which owns almost 20% of its shares.
On GUV, consumer electronics producer Samsung is in advanced discussions over a $150m to $160m acquisition of Corephotonics, an Israel-based smartphone camera technology provider based on Tel Aviv University research.
Venture firm Magenta Venture Partners has launched in Israel with substantial backing from Mitsui, which is also providing two of its four founding general partners, one of the others being Motorola Solutions Venture Capital alumnus Ori Israely.
Jan 21 2019
Rank #9: 17 December 2018 – Grab Reaches $2.85bn in Latest Round
Grab has boosted its latest round to $2.85bn, taking in $150m from Yamaha Motor through a strategic partnership agreement.
Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia has confirmed it has secured $1.1bn in a round led by Alibaba and SoftBank Vision Fund, with contributions from SoftBank Ventures Korea and unnamed existing backers.
Facial recognition technology provider Megvii is set to raise $500m in a round that could be led by $200m from Bank of China Group Investment with a possible investment by existing backer Alibaba.
Zymergen raised $130m in a SoftBank-led round two years ago, and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund has returned to lead a $400m series C round for the molecular manufacturing technology provider that included Goldman Sachs, Hanwha Asset Management and several existing investors.
Naspers Ventures is leading a funding round for online education provider Byju’s that has reached $322m on its way to a $400m close.
Financial software provider Plaid has secured $250m in a series C round led by Kleiner Perkins and backed by Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Spark Capital and Index Ventures that valued it at $2.65bn.
Niantic, the augmented reality game developer best known for Pokémon Go, is close to raising $200m in funding from investors including Samsung and Axiomatic, the eSports company that’s becoming increasingly involved in corporate venturing.
Parking services and technology platform ParkJockey was reported the week before last to be closing in on a SoftBank-led round that could be sized between $800m and $1bn.
Automotive e-commerce platform Vroom has raised $146m in a series G round that was led by a $50m investment from brick-and-mortar car retail chain AutoNation.
Meiri Yitao was incubated as a social commerce-focused fresh produce offshoot of online grocer MissFresh, but has sped out of the blocks, following a $30m series A round in July with $100m in series B funding from investors including SIG Asia Investments.
Things have started to quieten down a bit on Global University Venturing ahead of the Christmas holidays but Genomics, a UK-based drug discovery engine developer spun out of University of Oxford, still managed to extend its series B round to $42m with the close of an oversubscribed second $10.2m tranche.
Bytedance closed its last round at a valuation of $75bn – enough to make it the world’s most valuable VC-backed private company – and it’s now looking to get into the corporate venturing game itself.
Alcoholic beverage provider Constellation Brands formed its corporate venturing unit three years ago and has now launched a $100m initiative called Focus on Female Founders that will invest in female-led portfolio companies.
On Global University Venturing, we had news that the UCL Technology Fund – co-managed by tech transfer office UCL Business and Albion Capital, is in the process of raising between $95m and $126m for a second vehicle (in the original currency of British pounds, the upper number is actually double that of the first fund – £100m compared with £50m).
Moderna has raised $604m in what’s reportedly the largest biotech IPO ever, increasing the number of shares in the offering by more than 4.5 million, and it has earmarked the proceeds for the further development of a pipeline that now has more than 20 mRNA therapy and vaccine candidates.
2018’s been quite a year for IPOs but it increasingly looks like next year could dwarf it as unicorn after unicorn moves their chips in place. The latest two to have made a step forward are Uber, which has confidentially filed for an offering some onlookers have suggested could value it at a staggering $120bn, and Slack, which has hired Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter for an IPO that could value it at $10bn.
Basis had big plans to create a stablecoin tied to the US dollar that would potentially be usable as a steady alternative in volatile countries, and raised $133m from investors including GV in April. But those plans have screeched to a halt and Basis announced yesterday it will instead wind down due to regulatory difficulties.
Dec 17 2018
Rank #10: 03 December 2018 – ChargePoint Charges Up with $240m Series H Round
Covering the week’s venturing news including funding, investments, exits and people moves. This week’s episode includes: Fund news from SK China and Michelin, deal news from Altria and Getty Images, and exit news featuring Tuanche and Moderna Therapeutics, plus much more.
Dec 03 2018
Rank #11: 09 March 2020 – Waymo Secures $2.25bn in Initial Close of First External Round
The Big Ones
Waymo began life in Alphabet’s secretive Google X division but has now fully emerged as a standalone company, securing $2.25bn from investors including AutoNation, Magna International and Alphabet itself – an amount it said only represents the initial close of its first external round. No official word on valuation but Morgan Stanley analysts estimated its value at $105bn as of September. What this means for Alphabet portfolio company Uber, which is testing its own driverless car tech, remains to be seen.
Insurance providers Aflac, Sumitomo Life and Nürnberger have contributed to the $90m initial close of an insurance technology-focused fund being raised by UK-based venture capital firm Anthemis. Founded in 2010, Anthemis now has more than $500m in assets under management and more than 100 portfolio companies in the financial technology sector, about a third of which are insurance-related. The fund is expected to reach a final close later in 2020, according to Reuters. Aflac invested through its corporate venturing subsidiary, Aflac Global Ventures, and fellow insurer Daido Life Insurance Company is involved with the fund as an associate. Anthemis Insurance Venture Growth Fund I will invest in later-stage insurance tech businesses, beyond the traditional pre-seed to series B remit of earlier Anthemis funds.
Equinix has closed the acquisition of bare-metal automation technology provider Packet initially announced in January. The purchase price is $335m and the deal comes in the wake of just $36m in funding. That’s good news for SoftBank, which led Packet’s series A round, in addition to fellow corporate investors Dell Technologies Capital, JA Mitsui and Samsung Next.
In crossover news. Element Science has raised a sliver over $145m in a series C round that included GV, which was listed as an existing investor. Element is the developer of a wearable defibrillator for cardiac patients transferring from the hospital to their home. The round was co-led by Deerfield Healthcare and Qiming Venture Partners USA and it boosted Element’s overall funding to at least $183m. The company’s founder, president and chief executive is Uday Kumar, adjunct professor in bioengineering at Stanford University. He previously founded iRhythm Technologies, the developer of arrhythmia diagnostics technology that won the GUV Award for Exit of the Year in 2017 – and whose stock has nearly quadrupled since its IPO to give the company a current market cap of $2.6bn.
Beike Xhaofang was reported in December to be mulling over an initial public offering to raise up to $1bn, but the online property rental platform had apparently already raised more than $2.4bn in a series D-plus round punctuated by a $1bn investment from SoftBank. The round also featured existing investor Tencent and valued the company (also known as Ke.com) in excess of $14bn.
Quibi is gearing up for the launch of its short-form online streaming platform next month and has closed $750m in new financing from undisclosed new and existing investors. The new funding took Quibi’s overall equity financing to $1.75bn, the company having previously revealed Alibaba, Sony, 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney, WarnerBros, Entertainment One and WndrCo among its backers.
Immunocore has completed a $130m series B round that included WuXi AppTec’s corporate VC fund and existing investor Eli Lilly. A media report in September suggested the round was set to value the immuno-oncology molecule developer, a spinoff from MediGene, at about $625m. That sounds good until you factor in the reported $1bn valuation at which it last raised money, through a $320m round in 2015. Immunocore was spun out of biotech firm Medigene in 2008 to commercialise aspects of Avidex technology, the latter having been spun out of University of Oxford in 1999. A sister company, Adaptimmune, was formed concurrently to market other Avidex assets.
Novartis Venture Fund and Partners Innovation Fund have taken part in a $105m series B round for Akouos, which is developing precision genetic medicines to combat hearing loss. Both participated as existing backers, Novartis having been an investor since the company’s $7.5m seed round three years ago.
Immuno-oncology continues to be a strong area of life sciences, with Akrevia Therapeutics having closed a $100.5m series B round announced alongside its rebranding to Xilio Therapeutics. The round was led by Takeda Ventures and included three more corporate venturing subsidiaries of pharmaceutical firms: M Ventures, Ipsen Ventures and MRL Ventures Fund.
Pliant Therapeutics, a US-based fibrosis therapy developer based on research at University of California (UC), San Francisco, has raised $100m in a series C round led by pharmaceutical firm Novartis. Venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures formed Pliant in 2016 to advance research conducted at UC San Francisco by professors Dean Sheppard, Bill DeGrado and Hal Chapman together with associate professor Bradley Backes. The company’s now raised $207m altogether.
Thought Machine has created a cloud banking platform intended to comprehensively replace legacy banking IT systems. Its customers include Lloyds Banking Group, which has also participated in the company’s $83m series B round, making it the latest UK-based fintech developer to raise substantial funding. It is channelling the capital into its ongoing international expansion, which is currently focused on the Asia Pacific region.
Japan-based lithium-ion battery developer APB has raised ¥8bn ($74.4m) in today from investors including Keio Innovation Initiative (KII), a joint venture capital vehicle for Keio University and securities brokerage Nomura Holdings. Industrial, mining and petroleum group JXTG Holdings took part through subsidiary JXTG Innovation Partners while coal chemistry technology provider JFE Chemical, construction firm Obayashi Corporation, textile manufacturer Teijin and industrial technology producers Nagase & Co and Yokogawa Electric invested directly. The company was founded in October 2018 through a partnership between KII and Keio University professor Hideaki Horie.
Quantum computing technology developer Rigetti Computing is well on the way to its next round, having accumulated $71m for a targeted close of $83.9m, according to a securities filing. The company has now disclosed a total of $190m in funding and its earlier backers include Bloomberg Beta, which invested in its $24m series A round.
Mandatum Life, the insurance subsidiary of financial services group Sampo, has contributed to the €30m ($32.6m) first close for an insurance technology-focused fund formed by Finland-based venture capital firm Innovestor. B2B Industrial Technology Fund has an expected ceiling of €100m and its other limited partners include unnamed institutional investors, family offices and individual backers. It expects to begin investing as early as the second quarter of 2020.
Accolade, the developer of a digital concierge designed to help users navigate the healthcare benefits system, has filed for a $100m initial public offering that will give corporate backers Comcast, Humana, McKesson Ventures and Independence Health Group the opportunity to exit. The company has raised more than $194m in financing since being founded in 2007.
Oric Pharmaceuticals is the latest oncology therapeutics developer to file for an initial public offering and is targeting $86.3m in the IPO. Taiho, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Hartford HealthCare are in line for exits, having all contributed to a $55.7m series D round last August that pushed Oric’s total funding past $175m.
Artificial intelligence chip producer Cambricon Technologies has applied to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market, in an initial public offering that will give corporate backers Alibaba, Lenovo, Zhongke Tuling Century Beijing Technology and iFlytek a chance to exit. The company has raised at least $200m in funding and was valued at $2.5bn in its last round, a 2018 series B.
Mar 09 2020
Rank #12: 17 February 2020 – Revolution Medicines Goes Public in $238m Offering
The Big News
It’s been a good week for healthcare flotations, with Revolution Medicines following in the footsteps of successful IPO closures by Schrödinger and Beam Therapeutics by going public in a $238m offering that represented an increase in size of almost 50% from when it first set the range earlier this month. The precision oncology therapy developer’s shareholders include Sanofi, which took its stake when Revolution bought subsidiary Warp Drive Bio in an all-share deal in late 2018.
Beam Therapeutics itself followed another GV portfolio company, Schrödinger, in closing an upgraded initial public offering. The genomic drug developer has secured a total of $207m, its shares having risen more than 47% since it floated last week. That’s after Beam floated at the top of its range in an expanded offering.
Schrödinger had capped one of the most successful IPOs in recent months, closing the offering at $232m after the underwriters took up the greenshoe option, following an increase in share price of more than 60%. The computational software provider had already floated above its range last week, less than a year after a series E round featuring GV and WuXi AppTec.
Diversified entertainment producer Skydance Media raised a nine-figure amount from Tencent two years ago, and the corporate has returned for a $275m round that reportedly valued Skydance at $2.3bn. The round also featured a new strategic partner, the Korea-based CJ Entertainment and Merchandising, which is fresh from its triumph at the Oscars with Parasite. Skydance produces film, TV and games and is also developing animation projects.
Cross-border payment service Flywire has secured $120m in a series E round led by Goldman Sachs at a $1bn+ valuation that took its total funding to more than $260m. The deal supported Flywire’s acquisition of healthcare payment-management platform Simplee, which had raised more than $36m in funding from investors including American Express Ventures.
Outset Medical obtains $125m
Rebel Foods is one of the fastest growing companies in the relatively nascent virtual kitchen sector and is looking to raise $100m to $150m at a $1bn valuation. That prospective valuation would almost double that at which Gojek and Sistema invested a few months back, and the news comes on the heels of a $60m round for another cloud kitchen manager, Kitopi, earlier this month.
Cox Enterprises has contributed to a $126m series F round for Iora Health that pushed the primary healthcare provider’s overall funding to about $350m. Health insurance provider Humana and corporate venturing unit GE Ventures are among Iora’s earlier investors, and the cash will fuel an expansion beyond the 48 practices the company currently runs.
Meditation-aid app developer Calm raised funding at a $1bn valuation last year but it isn’t the only sizeable player in the mindfulness services sector. Headspace has secured $93m($53m in equity financing, $40m in debt) in a series C round featuring Chernin Group and Bennett Coleman & Co’s Times Bridge subsidiary, having bumped up its customer base to 2 million paying subscribers. It’s now raised $169m in total.
Carta to compete in corporate venturing
Parkwalk kicks off $260m fund
Al Faisaliah aligns with Nuwa Capital
Essential looked like a promising bet when it first emerged under the stewardship of Android creator Andy Rubin, promising a high-grade smartphone that would function as an alternative to established brands. It raised $300m from investors including Tencent, Amazon Alexa Fund, Foxconn and Access Technology Ventures at a valuation of up to $1bn in 2017, but announced yesterday it is closing operations following poor sales of its debut product. No word on the fate of GEM, the next iteration of phone it was developing.
Brandless ends operations
Etix Everywhere heads to Vantage point for acquisition
Infosys has agreed to buy sales services provider Simplus in a deal indicated by a regulatory filing to be $250m. Simplus had raised a fraction above $40m and Salesforce Ventures had been an investor in the company since its 2016 series A round. Infosys had already acquired another Salesforce Ventures portfolio company, Fluido, for $76m in 2018.
Hollar attracts Five Below for acquisition
Speaking of M&A deals, EDF has acquired a majority stake in electric vehicle charging system developer Pod Point in a deal reportedly sized at about $130m. The deal was struck through an agreement with existing Pod Point shareholder Legal & General, which made a strategic investment last May and which is increasing its stake from 13% to 23% in the latest transaction. A corporate VC investor partnering another business to take a majority share isn’t something you see that often, but it does make strategic sense.
Feb 17 2020
Rank #13: 10 February 2020 – Netskope Gains $340m in Round Led By Sequoia Capital Global Equities
The Big Ones
Sequoia Capital Global Equities has led a $340m round for cloud security platform developer Netskope at a valuation of near $3bn. Netskope has now raised $740m altogether from investors including Dell Technologies Capital. Given the propensity of cybersecurity companies to be acquired, the unit – which has already scored exits from Packet and Big Switch Technologies this year – must feel good about that increased valuation.
Lots of Japanese financial services firms are active in the country’s venture capital space but SBI Group is one of the most strategic, having also backed international fintech developers such as Ripple and CurrencyCloud. It also raised a mid-nine figure amount for an AI and blockchain fund last year, and is now targeting $920m for a new vehicle called the 4+5 Fund.
Cybersecurity continues to be one of the most reliable areas for M&A exits and the latest case is Emailage, an email security software provider that has agreed to an acquisition by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, reportedly for around $480m.
And in crossover news, another exit… Harvard University-founded genomic medicine developer Beam Therapeutics looks set for one of the most successful of recent months, floating at the top of its range in an upsized IPO that will net it $180m.
SoftBank Vision Fund has provided another $150m for Indian childcare product retailer FirstCry, following on from a similarly sized investment a year ago and doubling its series E round to $300m.
GV’s latest investment involved it leading a $100m round for Verana Health, the operator of a software platform that pools clinical and life sciences information from a range of databases. The Alphabet-owned unit had already led Verana’s last round, a $30m series C 18 months ago, and it forms part of what’s becoming an increasingly lucrative healthcare technology stable.
Moda Operandi, the operator of an e-commerce marketplace for luxury goods, has secured $100m in debt and equity financing, increasing its equity funding to $345m in the process. The company, whose earlier investors include Advance Publications and LVMH, is one of several e-commerce entities to target the high-end market.
JenaValve Technology is moving its transcatheter aortic valve replacement prosthesis towards full regulatory approval in the US and has raised $50m from investors including Legend Capital to fund that journey. Legend Capital also took part in the company’s last publicly disclosed round, a series C that closed at $99m nearly five years ago.
Sendoso, the operator of a platform that combines software and warehousing services to help businesses with their postal marketing, has received $40m in funding from investors including logistics real estate manager Prologis. The round was led by Oak HC/FT and it boosted the company’s overall funding to more than $54m.
Qorvo has agreed to acquire Decawave, an indoor positioning technology developer that had raised about $60m from investors including ST Electronics and LG, for a reported $400m in cash. The deal was announced alongside semiconductor technology producer Qorvo’s purchase of another company, for a total of $500m.
Schrödinger, which provides chemical simulation software enabling drug developers to more precisely analyse molecules, floated above its range to raise $202m. The GV and WuXi AppTec-backed company then saw its shares shoot up 68% on their first day of trading.
Cancer therapy developer Revolution Medicines has set the terms for its initial public offering and will raise $150m if it floats at the mid-point of its range, $160m if it floats at the top.
Passage Bio, a University of Pennsylvania-linked drug developer that – by a bizarre coincidence – has also raised $226m, has filed for its own IPO, setting a $125m target.
Casper Sleep on the other hand has had some of the worst pre-IPO publicity since, well, WeWork, with onlookers pointing to steady losses and what’s perceived as an (ahem) relatively sleepy corner of the consumer products sector. The Target-backed mattress and bedding brand raised a sliver over $100m, floating at the bottom of an already slashed price range at less than half the $1.1bn valuation at which it last raised funding. Ouch.
Feb 10 2020
Rank #14: 20 January 2020 – Joby Aviation Raises $590m in Series C to Create Flying Taxis
The Big Ones
Joby Aviation is developing an electric-powered aerial taxi for urban use, a product that would appear to be a big jump into the future even without taking into account sustainability issues concerning its stated aim to serve ‘a billion’ people a day. But corporate investors are taking it seriously and none more than Toyota which invested $394m to lead its $590m series C round.
UPMC Enterprises functions as the investment and innovation arm of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (which sounds like it’s just the one but actually it’s a system comprised of 40 hospitals) and has built up an 18-strong portfolio alongside investments in internal projects. It looks to be upgrading its activity as well, announcing plans to allocate $1bn in capital through 2024, $800m of which is newly disclosed and $200m has already been dedicated to an immuno-therapy research partnership with the university.
Visa invested in financial data technology provider Plaid just four months ago and must have liked what it saw because it has agreed to acquire financial data technology provider Plaid in a $5.3bn transaction that what will surely be one of the year’s biggest acquisitions of a VC-backed company.
Xiaohongshu, the social commerce platform also known as Little Red Book, is resuming fundraising activities and is reportedly seeking $400m to $500m at a $6bn valuation. The company secured $300m in a 2018 series D round featuring Tencent and Alibaba at a $3bn valuation and was exploring new funding last year, only to suspend efforts after its app was temporarily pulled from Chinese app stores.
Tradeshift, a provider of supply chain-management and payment processing software, has raised $240m in debt and equity financing from undisclosed new and existing investors. No word on the former but its existing backers include American Express Ventures, Wipro Ventures, PayPal, Intuit, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund and HSBC.
EQRx has launched with $200m in series A funding from GV and Nextech and a mission to develop more affordable copies of drugs already on the market. In contrast to licensed biosimilars, the startup will use advanced technology to create its own patent-protected versions, in theory providing more accessible medicines while generating more profit.
Electric vehicle technology developer Arrival has been relatively stealthy since it was founded in 2015 but has disclosed a $112m investment by carmaker Hyundai and subsidiary Kia. The funding came as part of a strategic collaboration through which Arrival will provide technology for Hyundai’s own mobility and EV initiatives.
Emendo Biotherapeutics is developing genetic medicines using a proprietary platform that utilises Crispr gene editing and protein engineering. It has also raised $61m in a series B round led by biopharmaceutical company AnGes, which is developing its own genetic therapies and which plans to work with Emendo on certain indications.
China-based insurer Taiping, has formed a $1bn investment vehicle called TP-CICC GBA Investment Master Fund in partnership with China International Capital Corporation’s CICC Capital division. The fund will target companies based in China’s Bay Area that are developing technology for the financial, healthcare, consumer and insurance sectors among others.
Saudi Aramco has pumped its IPO up to $29.4bn, making it the largest in history, and the petrochemical producer is also looking to expand its corporate venturing activity. The corporate is reportedly lining up a $500m second fund for its Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures unit that will likely be launched later this year.
IT services firm Wipro launched its Wipro Ventures subsidiary in 2015 with a $100m fund that has so far invested in 16 companies and exited two – one of which was Palo Alto Networks’ $560m acquisition of Demisto. The unit has now announced a second fund with an upgraded size of $150m.
Teladoc has agreed to buy telehealth technology producer InTouch Health for $150m in cash and $450m in shares. The company had raised less than $100m in funding, $6m of which was supplied by iRobot through a 2012 expansion to a partnership agreement.
Suzhou Zelgen Biopharmaceuticals has priced a $294m initial public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market that is impressively sized despite not meeting its initial target of $346m. The cancer therapy developer had raised money across five rounds including a $62m series B two years ago that included insurance firm Minsheng Life.
NGP Capital has exited on-device AI technology developer Xnor.ai in an acquisition by Apple reportedly sized around the $200m mark. NGP Capital was spun off from Nokia but the corporate is still a prominent backer, and the deal will be pulling in some decent returns considering Xnor had disclosed less than $15m in funding pre-acquisition.
Casper Sleep, one of a wave of high-end mattress developers to launch in recent years, has filed to go public having raised $340m in venture funding from investors including Target. It is set to beat corporate-backed competitors like Helix and Eve Sleep to the public markets, though it’s as yet unclear whether the $67m loss it suffered in the first nine months of 2019 will affect its valuation, which stood at $1.1bn as of last March.
Jan 20 2020
Rank #15: 13 January 2020 – Ant Financial Backs Zomato with $150m at a $3bn Valuation
The Big Ones
Zomato has kicked off its next funding round, expected to reach $500m, by raising $150m from existing investor Ant Financial at a $3bn valuation. The cash will help it in its ongoing battle against domestic rival Swiggy for supremacy in India’s online food ordering sector.
SoftBank Vision Fund has reportedly pulled out of a series of large-scale investments, in companies including Honor, Seismic and Creator, in recent months despite signing term sheets. The decisions appear to have taken place in the wake of WeWork’s failure to float in the autumn but could just as easily be due to a general slowdown in investments due to the second Vision Fund still not being close to its initial $100bn target.
Internet-of-things security provider Armis has agreed to a $1.1bn acquisition by Insight Partners in which Alphabet’s CapitalG unit is set to provide $100m. The France-based company had disclosed $112m in funding as of a $65m series C round last year, though none of its VC investors were corporates.
In university – and crossover – news, Soul Machines, a New Zealand-based artificial intelligence-powered avatar platform spun out of University of Auckland, has received $40m in a series B round featuring the institution’s Inventors Fund. Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek led the round, which also included Salesforce Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of enterprise software producer Salesforce. Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services subsidiary of carmaker Daimler, was previously revealed as a backer when Soul Machines raised a first series B tranche in 2018.
Quibi has to be one of the most eagerly-awaited pre-launch startups in history, and its leaders revealed this week it will launch its 10-minutes-or-less streaming platform in April with contributors including Guillermo Del Toro, Jennifer Lopez and Liam Hemsworth.
Fitness and wellness subscription service ClassPass has meanwhile raised $285m in a series E round that lifted its valuation to the billion-dollar mark. Alphabet’s GV unit is among its investors but the latest funding came in a round co-led by L Catterton and Apax Digital with additional participation by Temasek.
Further along the line is Byju’s, reportedly now the world’s most valuable VC-backed edtech company, which has just received $200m in funding from Tiger Global Management at a valuation of about $8bn. That’s an increase in valuation of nearly 40% in just six months and has to be good news for existing backers and corporates Naspers, Tencent and Bennett Coleman & Co.
Hesai has raised $173m in series C funding, in a round it claims is the largest ever for a lidar system developer. Robert Bosch co-led the round, two years after Hesai took part in its automotive AI accelerator in China, while ON Semiconductor also contributed capital.
Zhiyun Health, developer of a chronic disease management platform, has secured a total of $144m across series C-plus and series D rounds, the investors including Samsung, SIG Asia and China Electronics Corporation affiliate OP Financial.
Business accounting software provider High Radius is now valued at more than $1bn, having raised $125m in a series B round featuring Citi Ventures and Susquehanna Growth Equity. Both took part as existing backers and the round was led by Iconiq Capital.
Sisense, the creator of a data simplification tool for app developers and business analysts, has increased its valuation to more than $1bn, securing $100m from investors including Access Industries subsidiary Claltech.
Transcenta Holdings, the biopharmaceutical company formed through the merger of HJB and MabSpace Biosciences – both backed by Lilly Asia Ventures – has also raised $100m, in a series B-plus round that included the Eli Lilly-affiliated venture firm.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has chipped into a $73m series C round for digital accounting software provider Receipt Bank. The round was led by Insight Partners, the venture firm that had invested $50m in Receipt Bank in 2017, and the cash will fund growth across Europe, North America and Australia.
ClearCover has become the latest online insurance portal to raise substantial funding, pulling in $50m through a series C round featuring Cox Enterprises and American Family Ventures, both participating as existing investors.
US-based tire manufacturer Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has launched a $100m corporate venture capital vehicle known as Goodyear Ventures at CES. Goodyear produces a range of vehicle tires in addition to running service centres and providing synthetic rubber and chemical products.
India-based poultry product supplier IB Group has formed a $28m strategic investment fund. IB’s central business focuses on its chicken and egg supply, though it has diversified into areas such as livestock feed, pet food, solvents and hospitality.
Megvii has received regulatory approval to float in Hong Kong and reportedly expects to raise about $500m in the initial public offering. Alibaba and its Ant Financial affiliate own upwards of 29% of the image recognition software provider, which was valued at $4bn as of its last funding round in May.
One Medical has filed to go public having raised a total of $400m in primary funding from investors including Alphabet’s GV unit. The primary care provider has set a placeholder target of $100m that will almost certainly increase by the time it sets terms for the IPO.
Jan 13 2020
Rank #16: 23 December 2019 – SoftBank invests $231m in Lenskart at $1.5bn Valuation
The Big Ones
India-based eyewear e-commerce platform Lenskart has been growing steadily in recent years, expanding its retail footprint to more than 530 stores and further commercialising its own brand. That work has been reflected in a $231m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund, made at a $1.5bn valuation – more than three times its reported valuation in May.
Insurance group Ping An has raised $786m for the second consumer-focused fund to be operated by its Ping An Capital subsidiary. Ping An Capital makes large-scale investments in both private and publicly-traded companies and has built a portfolio that includes Grab and Fullerton Financial.
Delivery Hero is pressing on with its international expansion, having agreed to pay $4bn to acquire Korea-based food delivery app developer Woowa Brothers. The price represents a premium from the $2.6bn valuation at which the company last raised money a year ago, and CyberAgent and Naver are both set to exit through the transaction, the former having backed Woowa Brothers at seed stage five years ago.
Italian energy utility A2A has formed a strategic investment fund called A2A Horizon that has been launched with some $78m in capital. What’s noteworthy here however is that the fund has been backed by Poli360 – the university venture fund of Polytechnic University of Milan – (yes, you heard right: a university venture fund helped a corporate put together a CVC unit). LPs also include 360 Capital Partners, the VC firm that already manages Poli360.
Glovo has become Spain’s second unicorn, after Cabify, the on-demand delivery services platform having pulled in $167m through a series E round that included existing backer Drake Enterprises. The company’s other investors include Rakuten, Delivery Hero and AmRest but the latest round was led by Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala.
Original design manufacturer Huaqin Communication Technology has received $143m in series B funding from investors including Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech at a valuation that topped $2bn.
Forma Therapeutics has completed a $100m series D round led by RA Capital Management that will fund the advancement of drug candidates for sickle cell disease and cancer.
Chinese mother and babycare product retailer Hipac has closed its own $100m series D round and will use the cash for recruitment, enhancing its supply chain and making strategic M&A deals.
Short-term managed apartment provider Domio has secured $100m, half of which consisted of a series B equity round featuring SoftBank Capital NY. The other $50m was provided in the form of debt financing and the capital will support expansion efforts as the company looks to double the 12 US cities in which it currently operates to 25 worldwide.
Fusion power technology developer General Fusion has completed a $65m series E round led by Temasek that, together with a further $38m in government funding from Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, will support construction of a pilot plant.
Healthcare analytics platform developer OM1 has received $50m in funding in a round led by venture firm Scale Venture Partners that was also backed by existing investors that may have included corporate venturing unit Wanxiang Healthcare Investments.
Chemicals producer Sinochem is putting together a $143m fund that will invest in the new materials, energy and electronics chemicals spaces. The corporate will provide about 20% of its capital, with the rest set to come from a group of limited partners that will include another China-based chemicals company.
In the second huge corporate venturing-related M&A deal in the past week, following Delivery Hero’s $4bn purchase of Woowa Brothers, Intel has paid $2bn to acquire AI training processor developer Habana Labs. Intel Capital had led Habana’s $75m series B round in November last year, two months after it emerged from stealth, taking the company’s overall funding to $120m.
Beike Zhaofang, the online-focused spinoff of real estate brokerage Lianjia, has hired an adviser to help it prepare an initial public offering that could raise upwards of $1bn and take place as early as next year.
OneConnect has generated its own exit, in a $312m initial public offering in the US. Formed as Chinese insurer Ping An’s financial technology platform and spun off in 2017, OneConnect subsequently raised $750m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and SBI early last year.
Dec 23 2019
Rank #17: 11 November 2019 – Marianne Wu Moves On From GE Ventures
The Big Ones
Marianne Wu, president of GE Ventures, has left the corporate venturing unit as the US-listed industrial conglomerate has agreed to sell 16 healthcare portfolio companies to an affiliate of Leerink Revelation Partners.
Over the past few years, China has – partially out of necessity – been responsible for a lot of healthcare innovation and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by international players. AstraZeneca is the latest corporate to want a slice of the action and the pharmaceutical firm is going all in with the launch of a $1bn fund it unveiled together with investment bank CICC. No word on how much money it’s put in, though AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg his company wasn’t the majority investor. Expect to read about the Healthcare Industrial Fund a lot.
Also looking at $1bn is Japan-based accounting software provider Freee, which has confidentially filed for an initial public offering on the TSE Mothers Market and hopes to attain unicorn status. If the flotation goes ahead, it would provide exits to a long list of varied corporates, including Line, Mitsubishi UFJ, Nippon Life, Life Card, Salesforce, Sharp, Recruit, SBI, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Chiba Bank, as well as the Toyota-backed Future Creation Fund.
Congrats to SetSquared sweeps UBI crown. SetSquared fended off competition from peers such as RMZ, Chalmers Ventures and Yes!Delft to seal UBI’s global university incubator award for a third time.
Air conditioner producer Daikin Industries has pumped $100m into a corporate venture capital unit dubbed Technology and Innovation Center CVC Office and plans to deploy the capital over a five-year period. The vehicle will make VC investments but will also house an accelerator and will look to launch new startups through a partnership with the University of Tokyo.
IAN closes $53m fund
Vives finds $27.7m for Inter-University Fund
Aerial technology developer Ehang has filed for an initial public offering expected to raise up to $500m if reports earlier this year are accurate. The Chinese company has raised $52m from investors including Shanghai International Group across two equity rounds and has set an initial $100m target. It’s one of several compatriots who have filed in the US and are looking to float in the coming weeks.
The biggest M&A exit is the $540m all-cash acquisition of Scout RFP by Workday, less than a year after the corporate’s investment unit Workday Ventures last invested in the sourcing platform. Salesforce Ventures and GV are among the exiting shareholders, having contributed to more than $60m in equity financing since Scout’s founding in 2014.
Corporate banking services isn’t an area that’s popped up a lot but Ebury has been making a name for itself with functionality such as mass payments in multiple currencies and foreign exchange risk management. That’s previously convinced financial services firm such as NIBC to invest and now Santander is getting in on the action with a $450m primary and secondary share purchase that gives it a majority stake – just about – of 50.1%. Ebury will continue to operate as an independent entity, and existing investors have also reinvested in the business.
Jask joins Sumo Logic
Riskified has built an e-commerce fraud prevention software that confirms legitimate customers in real-time to prevent fraudulent transactions, and its potential previously convinced Capital One Growth Ventures, Phoenix Insurance Company and NTT Docomo Ventures to invest. It’s now also attracted investors such as Fidelity to raise $165m in series E funding and push its valuation beyond $1bn.
Chinese antibody drug developer Akeso Biopharma has also been busy raising a big pile of cash, attracting $150m in series D funding co-led by pharmaceutical firm Sino Biopharmaceutical and with participation from K. Wah Group.
There are a range of companies out there trying to take the house sales process from the high street to an online marketplace, but HomeLight’s proposition is unique in that it scours more than 40 million real estate transactions and more than 1.4 million agent profiles to find the best realtor for a homeowner looking to sell.
Medical device manufacturer Peijia Medical hasn’t appeared on GCV’s radar up until now, but the company has been attracting capital since it was launched in 2012. Lilly Asia Ventures, which seemingly backed a series B of unspecified size in 2018, has also supported a $100m series C round announced by Peijia this week, and the money will help drive product development of the company’s devices to treat heart valve disease.
Almost 114,000 people are currently waiting for a transplant in the US alone, but if eGenesis is successful such lists may not be an issue anymore: the Harvard University spinout is using gene editing technologies to make animal organs compatible with human patients – a process known as xenotransplantation. It’s initially focusing on kidneys andhas attracted $100m in series B funding from investors including Leaps by Bayer to make the procedure a reality.
Geltor to apply for $100m
Shape boxes up $35.5m
Nov 11 2019
Rank #18: 28 October 2019 – We Company Gains $18.5bn in Debt and Equity Funding
The Big Ones
SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure revealed on Thursday that it has committed a total of $18.5bn in debt and equity financing to WeWork owner We Company. It comes after SoftBank, on Tuesday, confirmed details of a $9.5bn rescue package for We Company that includes a $3bn tender offer which will allow earlier investors including Jin Jiang International and Legend Holdings to exit, albeit at a sizeable loss. SoftBank will emerge with an 80% stake in a streamlined company while We Co will come out with enough capital to sustain itself for the time being, hopefully.
Happier times for Databricks, the UC Berkeley spinout that has built a data preparation platform tailored for work with advanced analytics tools. It’s secured $400m in a Microsoft-backed series F round that boosted its valuation from $2.75bn to $6.2bn in just eight months.
Total has launched a $400m investment unit called Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures that looks as if it is assuming the mantle of the petroleum supplier’s main corporate venturing vehicle. The capital is intended to be allocated over the next five years and will fund developers of technologies in areas like energy storage, smart energy and mobility.
On GUV, Oxford Nanopore, the UK-based genetic sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, is reportedly seeking £1.6bn ($2.1bn) in a forthcoming private placement. The purported transaction could help Woodford Investment Management, soon to close having failed to restore its liquidity, by enabling the firm to sell down equity that reportedly represents the biggest stake in its portfolio by market value. It is unclear how the move tallies with earlier suggestions that the spinout was looking to go public.
Speaking of Woodford, good news for the spinout-focused Patient Capital Trust. Asset management firm Schroders has rescued trust and agreed terms for the switch to take place before the end of 2019, when it will be renamed Schroder UK Public Private Trust. Schroders will waive its management fee for the first three months and will then charge 0.8% or 1% annually depending on the size of each client’s investment.
Taimei Technology, which provides clinical trials software that helps multiple stakeholders in the process interact with each other, and ¨has confirmed $212m in funding across two rounds. One of those is a $132m series E-plus round led by Tencent, which added to an $80m series E featuring SoftBank China Venture Capital, some details of which originally emerged in January.
Elsewhere in China, global positioning technology provider Qianxun Spatial Intelligence has secured $141m in series A funding, four years after it was co-founded by Alibaba and Norinco Group. The cash was reportedly raised at a $1.84bn valuation and the round was co-led by government-owned vehicles Shanghai International Group, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China State-Owned Capital Venture Investment Fund.
Security and surveillance technology provider Hikvision is putting together its own investment fund, Hikvision Smart Industry Investment Fund, which will be equipped with some $141m in capital.
Aerospace and defence equipment manufacturer Safran launched corporate venturing unit Safran Corporate Ventures in 2015 and, after allocating most of its original capital, has added another $33.5m to take its total budget to about $89m. The fund has invested in 10 companies, one of which has so far heralded an exit, and the capital is expected to be spent over the next two years.
Partners Healthcare has run corporate venturing unit Partners Innovation Fund since 2008 but has elected to also provide $80m for two specialist funds. The care system operator will put $50m into a vehicle known as Translational Innovation Fund, which will support development of preclinical drugs based on research at its hospitals, while $30m is going to Artificial Intelligence and Digital Translation Fund, which will work on innovative digital technologies with Partners Healthcare’s vendors.
Bloomberg Beta has meanwhile launched its third $75m fund in six years, with the cash again coming solely from Bloomberg. The firm is sponsored by Bloomberg but operates separately, with a focus on ‘the future of work’ and has built up a portfolio that includes unicorns Knotel and Flexport as well as the likes of Masterclass, AppZen, Rigetti Computing and InfluxData, which each look well on their way to that status.
And Yissum, the tech transfer company of Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), has joined forces with drug discovery firm Evotec to launch Lab555, the latest iteration of the latter’s academic commercialisation bridge model.
More waves in the IPO space, with Singapore-based online real estate marketplace PropertyGuru pulling out of an offering in Australia that would have raised $257m had the company floated at the top of its range. Media conglomerate Emtek had been looking to sell some $55m of shares in the IPO but a bigger concern may be for the Australian Stock Exchange itself.
Oct 28 2019
Rank #19: 07 October 2019 – We Co Pulls IPO
We Co, otherwise known as WeWork, formally pulled its initial public offering last week, putting a cap on what will go down as one of the most disastrous attempts to go public in recent memory. So what does that mean for corporate venturers? Is the co-working space still viable? Is it still worth betting on visionary founders? And what about SoftBank? If those are questions you’d like answers to, do check out GCV news editor Robert Lavine’s analysis on GlobalCorporateVenturing.com
Udaan, the Indian operator of an e-commerce platform that links small businesses to large traders and wholesalers, has raised $585m in series D funding from investors including Tencent and Citi Ventures to take its total equity financing to $870m in under three years.
Online content and advertising platforms Taboola and Outbrain operate in a relatively similar space and have elected to join forces, with Taboola buying the latter for $250m in cash, and $600m in stock equating to a 30% stake in what will be a $2bn company.
Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venture fund for University of Oxford, has added China-based telecommunications equipment and services provider Huawei as a limited partner. Huawei is believed to have bought 4.1 million shares over the past year through a Netherlands-based subsidiary called Huawei Technologies Cooeperatief, taking its stake in OSI to about 0.7%. Huawei has never been listed on OSI’s website as a backer. The deal was concluded in late 2018 before University of Oxford blocked the firm’s philanthropic donations due to fears over its influence in the UK technology space.
IronSource has confirmed a $400m+ investment by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners at a 10-figure valuation. The content monetisation and engagement platform developer raised $105m in a 2015 series A round featuring Access Industries at an apparently similar valuation, though Calcalist reported earlier this week that its shareholders regularly receive sizeable dividends, which would largely offset any flatlining in company value.
Electric scooter and bike rental service Bird has raised $275m at a $2.75bn post-money valuation, in a series D round co-led by Sequoia Capital and pension fund manager CDPQ.
Rapyd has already raised $100m, through a series C round featuring Stripe that valued the digital payment software producer at almost $1bn.
Tenaya Therapeutics, a US-based developer of treatments for heart disease, completed a $92m series B round on Thursday featuring GV, a corporate venturing subsidiary of internet and technology group Alphabet. The round was led by healthcare investment firm Casdin Capital and included Column Group and a range of undisclosed new and existing shareholders.
Adicet Bio is meanwhile working on cancer treatments that will utilise gamma delta T cells, and has completed an $80m series B round that took its total funding to $131m.
US-based vaccine developer Icosavax emerged from stealth on Thursday with $51m of series A funding from investors including Sanofi Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of pharmaceutical firm Sanofi. Qiming Venture Partners USA led the round, which was also backed by NanoDimension, Adams Street Partners and undisclosed existing investors.
Non-profit health system Advocate Aurora Health and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), the commercialisation arm of University of Wisconsin-Madison, have become a limited partner in a $75m healthcare-focused fund raised by venture capital firm Venture Investors.
It’s been a rough ride recently for companies trying to go public: Peloton’s shares have crashed every day since going public and that’s before we get to the disaster that’s been We Company’s struggles. But that isn’t stopping others from chasing the dream and Progyny has filed for a $100m offering on Nasdaq that would provide exits to SR One and Merck Group
36Kr will be hoping its own IPO goes better. The China-based startup media and services company has filed to go public in the US and has set an initial target of $100m. Its investors include Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and media group Nikkei, and it will be hoping it doesn’t fall foul of reported plans by Nasdaq – the operator of the market on which it intends to float – to tighten regulations for smaller IPOs by Chinese companies which have sometimes chiefly sold shares to investors linked to their executives. With only two named underwriters in the 36Kr IPO, that could be a factor.
Harvard University spinout Beam Therapeutics has filed for its own $100m IPO, which will follow roughly $225m in funding raised across two rounds. The genomic medicine developer’s shareholders include GV and Editas Medicine, the latter having acquired a stake through a licensing agreement last year.
4D Molecular Therapeutics has filed for a $100m initial public offering that will fund the progress of gene therapies for conditions such as Fabry disease and cystic fibrosis. It has raised at least $108m, $90m of which came in a 2018 series B round that included Pfizer Ventures and Chiesi Ventures.
MIT and Harvard spinout Frequency Therapeutics has gone public in an $84m initial public offering that represents a bit of a downgrade on its expectations, the company floating at the bottom of its range and cutting the number of shares in the IPO.
Live streaming software and tools provider Streamlabs has also achieved its own exit, agreeing to an acquisition by Logitech International for up to $118m. The total’s split between an $89m upfront cash payment – slightly more than Streamlabs’ most recent post-money valuation of $80m – and $29m worth of stock dependent on it reaching significant revenue growth.
Aprea Therapeutics, a US-based cancer drug developer spun out of Karolinska Institute and backed by its investment Karolinska Development as well as healthcare provider Praktikertjänst, has raised $85m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
Oct 07 2019
Rank #20: 05 August 2019 – MyBank Seeks $870m at $3.5bn Valuation
MyBank was formed by Ant Financial and Fosun in 2015, and now the big data and AI-enhanced online lending platform is reportedly seeking about $870m in a round that could include both corporates at a $3.5bn valuation. Its other existing investors include Wanxiang, a contributor to the $644m the company received at the time of its launch.
After much speculation, Indonesian bank Bank Negara Indonesia has officially launched its venture capital unit, BRI Ventures. It has provided an initial $100m for the unit that it intends to eventually increase to up to $250m, and it will be headed by Nicko Widjaja, the ex-CEO of one of the country’s other notable corporate venturing entities, Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures. That’s an interesting development considering MDI was said to be helping BNI put together the fund.
Chinese online lending platform 9f has filed to go public in the US and hopes to raise $150m in proceeds but, in an unusual move, is yet to settle on an exchange (it’s a fight between NYSE and Nasdaq). The company’s investors include Susquehanna International Group and SBI, though neither have stakes sized at 5% or more. Founded in 2006, 9f operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for consumers, with the loans supplied by both private investors and institutional partners. The platform also offers securities trading and big data analytics functionalities. The company had 76.7 million registered users as of March this year, 7.8 million of which have an approved credit limit. Its outstanding loan balance totalled $8.2bn at the time.
Alizé Pharma 3, a France-based biopharmaceutical startup based on research at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, University of Maine and Harvard University, secured $74.6m on Tuesday in a series A round led by investment firm LSP. Novo Ventures, Partners Innovation and Sham Innovation Santé, respective investment vehicles for pharmaceutical firm Novo, healthcare provider Partners Healthcare and insurer Sham, among others, also took part in the round. Alizé Pharma 3 is developing drugs that are intended to treat metabolic diseases and diseases of the endocrine system.
Swiggy is in what’s increasingly become a head-to-head battle with Zomato for dominance in India’s on-demand food delivery sector, and it’s reportedly close to raising between $700m and $750m in a round led by existing investor Naspers.
Healthcare software provider Babylon Health has announced a $550m series C round that will value it at $2bn post-money once it formally closes.
Traveloka raised $420m in a GIC-backed round in April, and is reportedly talking to investors in a bid to secure an additional $500m at a valuation of about $4.5bn.
Mobile bank operator Nubank has already sealed funding, notching up $400m in a series F round that included Tencent. The corporate had already invested $90m in Nubank last October, together with a $90m secondary transaction.
Online real estate brokerage Compass is now valued at $6.4bn having secured $370m in a series G round that included SoftBank Vision Fund, fresh from the launch of its recent $108bn second vehicle.
Mobile commerce platform Wish is now valued at $11.2bn following a series H round reportedly sized at $300m. General Atlantic led the round, without any other participanys being disclosed.
Machine learning software provider DataRobot has reportedly secured $200m in a series E round led by Sapphire Ventures at a valuation of more than $1bn.
Chinese engineering equipment rental service Zhongeng United has raised a total of about $167m in new funding, almost $22m of which came in the shape of series B-plus capital supplied by Five Star.
Utimco, a joint investment company of University of Texas and Texas A&M University, has backed a $234m life sciences fund raised by Germany-based venture firm Wellington Partners.
There’s been a lot of talk of decline in the new media sector as of late, and we could be about to see some more consolidation in the space. Vice is one of the biggest players and is reportedly in discussions to acquire Refinery29 in a move intended to diversify its comparatively masculine reputation.
Aug 05 2019